Patti Soldavini

Twist-Off Head

In Uncategorized on 05/03/2011 at 9:38 pm

"Is that a walking BOTTLE OPENER?"

Tonight as Olive and I were enjoying our early evening walk, crisscrossing the already lush green soccer field as occasional gusts of wind lifted Olive’s ears as though they were the rotating blades of a helicopter, we made our way to the sidewalk that winds through the development of mini McMansions with their perfectly manicured lawns. Up ahead, walking toward us are two small girls each tethered to one of their mother’s hands. One looks to be about 18 months old; the other, twice her age. I hear one or both of the girls correctly identify Olive as a “doggie,” and not a pony. Score one for the New Jersey school systems. I also see the mother executing a tighter grasp on each of the girls as Olive and I get closer. “Don’t worry,” I assure the mother, “She’s friendly. Too friendly maybe. She may try to lick the three of you to death,” I warn. The mother relaxes her vise-like grip and stops. Olive must have understood EXACTLY what I said, because at that moment she begins licking each of them as though they are different flavors of ice cream; each in the form of a cone. The girls giggle and titter amid expressions of unrestrained glee: “IT TICKLES!” It is only as Olive begins French kissing the 18 month old that I observe the mother visibly blanching. That’s okay I think, my dog is ingesting all the biological pathogens using your child as a host. Everything from soggy bits of Cheerios to snot-encrusted clots of banana. It occurs to me that to Olive, this must be the equivalent of a walking buffet. After sampling every station at the buffet, I start to drag Olive away as I recall what happened to my baby blue parakeet when as a child, I took Princess out of her cage and let a neighborhood girl pet it while it stood on my extended index finger. Instead of petting it, she tried to unscrew its head as if it were a twist off cap. Needless to say, the next morning when I awakened and went to greet my parakeet, she kept falling over in her cage. My father put Princess in a box without a top, cut a paper cup down to about an inch tall, filled it with water and we nestled the little “hospital room” carefully between two large branches in one of the trees in our backyard. This is what I remember; I was probably all of 6 years old. Anyway, it’s thoughts like these that remind me to make sure no one tries to unscrew Olive’s head from her body.

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  1. Poor Princess…RIP

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